Cartoon Network’s staked its claim as the home of TV’s most sensitive and thoughtful cartoons. “Welcome to My Life,” an exclusive online short, fits right into that mold. For fans of Steven Universe and Adventure Time, it’s required viewing.
Douglas, or “T-Kash,” as he likes to be called, is a teenage boy who loves video games and football. He’s a typical teen ... except for the fact that he’s a monster. Because he’s much bigger than everyone else — y’know, because he’s a monster — he doesn’t fit in so easily at his human high school.
But the mockumentary style of “Welcome to My Life” and its naturalistic voice acting makes it neither sappy nor preachy. T-Kash doesn’t bemoan his unpopularity. He’s never stuffed into any lockers. Even though he’s learned how mean some high school kids can be, he knows also that many of them can have good in their hearts. Plenty of welcoming, open-minded people populate his world, and he’s chief among them.
Making this film extra special, its wonderful animation and character design aside, is that the story manages to end on that positive note. Yet it remains low-key throughout — there are no big climactic learning lessons here. T-Kash is just an undeniably lovable boy with a preternaturally mature outlook on the world.
To be so visibly different can be difficult, especially in high school. But “Welcome to My Life” reminds us that it doesn’t have to be — shouldn’t be, in fact.
This is just a one-off short, by the way; director Elizabeth Ito works on various other Cartoon Network shows, including the similarly moving Adventure Time. Check out her website for some more of her shorts, each of which has a pretty cool, unique style.